Brandon Watkins begins his second season as a graduate assistant on the NIU men's basketball staff.
A native of Chicago, Ill., Watkins began his coaching career in 2011-12 as the head sophomore coach and varsity assistant at his alma mater, the legendary St. Joseph's High School in Westchester, Ill., where he led the sophomore team to an 18-6 record. Last season, Watkins coached the freshmen team at Riverside Brookfield High School, leading the Bulldogs to a perfect 24-0 record.
As a player, Watkins played collegiately at Penn State under Jerry Dunn; helping lead the Nittany Lions make a run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2001. Watkins earned All-Big Ten honorable mention recognition as a senior in 2003 and ranks 13th in Penn State history in career assists.
Watkins went on to play professionally in Europe for eight seasons, playing in France, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Estonia and Germany. Among the notable teams Watkins played for were Wolfburg in Germany, the club team of NBA star Dirk Nowitzki, as well as Greek powerhouse Olympiakos. In 2008, Watkins was named newcomer of the year in Germany while leading the league in points and assists.
Watkins earned his degree in communications from Penn State in 2007.